Using Ayurvedic Medicine to Fight the Common Cold and Flu

December 29, 2020

Since ancient times people have had to deal with runny and stuffy noses, coughs, body aches, chills, and all the other unpleasantness that accompanies being bitten by a winter bug. While there is no cure for the common cold, there are ways to make the symptoms a little more manageable and many of them are based on traditional  home remedies .

Ayurvedic medicine is one of the oldest traditional medicines in the world. It originated in India more than 3,000 years ago and continues to be used around the world today. This system could be seen as an operating manual for the interconnected body, mind, and spirit. Herbal compounds, special diets, exercises, and lifestyle practices unite to create an alternative or complement to mainstream medical care.

Ancient Ayurvedic Texts: The Great Trilogy

The word  Ayurveda may be translated from Sanskrit as “the science/ knowledge of life.” Many Ayurvedic practices predate written records and were passed down orally from master to student. The earliest written records of Ayurvedic medicine can be found in the sacred  historical texts  known as the  Vedas. The original texts of Ayurvedic  medicine, however, are thought to be the  Charaka Samhita  and the  Sushruta Samhita , both of which are believed by some to date as far back as the 11th century BC.

Another important text for our current understanding of  Ayurvedic medicine  is the  Ashtangi Hridaya . Together, these three  ancient texts  are known as the  Brhattrayi or “Great Triad/Trilogy,” and it is from them that the basic principles and theories of modern Ayurvedic medicine are derived. Even today, the majority of India’s population continues to practice some aspects of Ayurvedic medicine, usually in conjunction with Western medicine. Several studies have been conducted over the years on the effectiveness of various Ayurvedic treatments and some of the results have been very promising and positive.

Ayurvedic practitioners say that every person has their own  prakruti (constitution), which is comprised of a balance of the three  doshas (vital energies):  vata (air), pitta (fire), and  kapha (water). When there is an imbalance between the doshas, psychological or physiological illnesses may occur. Colds, mucus, and congestion are often linked with an unbalanced kapha, so Ayurvedic  medicine suggests an increase in pitta through the consumption of “hot” foods such as  ginger.

Ginger, honey, eucalyptus and the use of nasal irrigation have all seen some support by  scientific studies . Here are three simple Ayurvedic recipes for  remedies that have been used over the centuries to help manage common cold symptoms such as a stuffy or runny nose, headache, sore throat, chest congestion, body pain, fatigue, and more.

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